Daniel Tunkelang pointed out a new social search service today dubbed Aardvark. Social search works by delegating your queries to your social network to elicit a response from them. Aardvark adds in some algorithmic juice to only ask those in your extended social network who might be able to answer your question.
At first blush, this seems better than just dropping your question on Twitter. Questions posted to Twitter have the benefit of reaching a large audience quickly, but the disadvantage of being blasted to a bunch of people who probably don’t know or don’t care. You’re also likely only to reach people in your immediate social graph (depth = 1) and only those who happen to be checking Twitter at the time of your question. You need a pretty big group of followers on Twitter for that to be a consistently effective method.
Of course, the question remains whether Aardvark can deliver the goods. It sounds good that you can throw your question out to your social network up to some arbitrary depth. You’re not spamming everyone with the question either, just the people who have given some signal that they might be able to answer it. But Aardvark wanted me to invite a bunch of Facebook friends, something I very rarely do. How effective will it be given that I passed on that option? As far as I can tell, I’m only connected to Daniel since he’s the one who gave me the invite.